Ricotta Fritters (Polpette di Ricotta)

Ricotta Fritters (Polpette di Ricotta) Chilling the ricotta-prosciutto mixture after mixing it allows the flavors to come together and makes the balls easier to form. See the recipe for Ricotta Fritters (Polpette di Ricotta) »André Baranowski

Chilling the ricotta-prosciutto mixture after mixing it allows the flavors to come together and makes the balls easier to form.

Find this recipe in our cookbook, SAVEUR: Italian Comfort Food

Ricotta Fritters (Polpette di Ricotta)
Stuffed with prosciutto, mozzarella, pecorino, herbs and lemon zest, this fried cheese balls make a zesty cocktail party hors d'oeuvres.
Yield: makes 20 fritters

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 12 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • (1) 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 basil leaves, torn in half
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup homemade or store-bought ricotta
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 12 cup grated pecorino
  • 13 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 12 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 18 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 egg yolks plus 2 eggs
  • 4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 14 cup flour
  • 12 cup dried bread crumbs
  • Canola oil, for frying

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add chile flakes; toast for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and basil, bring to a boil, lower heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce begins to thicken, 6–8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low; keep warm.
  2. Stir together ricotta, fresh bread crumbs, pecorino, mozzarella, parsley, lemon zest, nutmeg, egg yolks, and prosciutto in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper; cover and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Put flour, whole eggs, and dried bread crumbs into 3 separate shallow dishes; whisk eggs. Using your hands, form chilled ricotta mixture into 1 12" balls. Working with 1 ball at a time, dredge in flour, then eggs, then bread crumbs, shaking off any excess. Transfer to a parchment paper–lined sheet tray.
  4. Pour enough canola oil into a 4-quart saucepan that it reaches a depth of 2". Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer inserted in the oil registers 350°. Working in batches, fry the ricotta balls, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the balls to a paper towel–lined plate. Serve with the tomato sauce.